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Sisters Samantha (left) and Sadie Bloom dedicate their summer afternoons to raising money through lemonade and cookie sales for their mom’s cousin, Christy Tackitt, who was diagnosed with stage IV endo-cervical cancer this spring. (Republican Eagle photo by Amanda Greenwood)

When life gives cousin lemons, girls make lemonade

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Since May, Red Wing sisters Sadie Bloom, 9, and Samantha, 6, have sold lemonade and cookies by the quarter and saved up $400 for the “Mighty McKenzie; Tackitt Tough” campaign.

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Their mom, Amber Bloom, said that this spring the girls found out that her cousin Christy Tackitt of Des Moines, Iowa, was diagnosed with stage IV endo-cervical cancer at the age of 35 and given only a 1 percent chance of survival from doctors.

Over the last several months, Tackitt underwent surgery which revealed the seriousness of the cancer and a rigorous chemotherapy schedule. She has also been in and out of the hospital with infections this summer.

In her Caring Bridge site, she mentions staying strong for her 1-year-old daughter, Vada, whom she calls the light of her life. Tackitt’s immediate family also includes her husband and stepson.

 “My family hasn’t left my side, helping us through ever since,” she wrote.

Tackitt’s maiden name is McKenzie, which is where the “Mighty McKenzie, Tackitt Tough” mission was born.

Sweet support

Along with the lemonade stand at the corner of Perlich Avenue and Crestview Court, Sadie and Samantha have created their own “Mighty McKenzie” shirts and signs supporting one of their “favorite” relatives.

“They have been busy all summer,” Amber said.

The girls are usually out ready for lemonade and cookie customers by noon and stay open throughout the afternoon and most evenings.

The sisters created their lemonade stand to not only help with Tackitt’s current financial pressures but also are looking ahead.

With a mature understanding of the situation, Sadie commented that they want to continue to work their lemonade stand “as long as they can,” even with the summer days winding down, because they want to be able to support the family.

“Her husband needs help and so does her daughter,” Sadie said.

Going for the goal

Amber said that she was able to deliver the first $100 raised to Tackitt in May and looks forward to visiting her again with the girls in September. Sadie and Samantha’s goal is to bring $600 with them.

“We are working hard and doing the best we can for everyone who has cancer,” Sadie said.

For more information and opportunities to donate to the “Mighty McKenzie, Tackitt Tough” campaign, visit www.christyleetackitt.com. Amber also shared the Caring Bridge site at www.christyleetackitt.com/caring-bridge.php. There is also a Facebook page titled Christy McKenzie-Tackitt Benefit Page.

“It is a tough (chemo) regimen, but needs to be hit hard as I have every reason in the world to fight my way through this,” Tackitt wrote. “Through the continuation of many prayers, my family and friends, my strong will and being extremely careful about my exposure, I believe I'm going to get through this.”

The details …

What: Lemonade stand fundraiser

Where: Corner of Perlich Avenue and Crestview Court

When: Starts at noon most every day

Cost: 25 cents per cup or cookie

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